Article by Chasity Fernandes, May 22, 2016
This Super Bowl crept up on me. Between work, school, and helping out at home, I was unaware about the big kick off until a week or so before the game.
I work for Food Plus in Flushing, Queens, or rather ‘Foo Plus’ as the sign outside reads since the D fell off years ago. The store began setting up festive sales and handing out football themed flyers. Customers with massive amounts of soda, chips, assorted dips, hot dogs, and paper products crowded the register lines. Also piling up were assignments for my three media classes, all asking for a report on the Super Bowl and those punctuated my realization that the most American viewed sporting event was upon me.
I’m not much of a sports fan. Aside from watching professional boxing matches on TV (that include boxers like Pacqiauo, Mayweather, or Cotto, to name a few) or maybe a NBA joust on a good day, I don’t have the patience to sit through a contest. Let alone only watching it on TV. Attending real games allows for more interactivety.
I grew up on boxing. There isn’t a single person in my family who won’t attend a family member’s party for a major boxing event, and not a single person who isn’t knowledgeable on the sport.
Basketball, however, I can say I don’t know as much about but enough to watch important and exciting games, though I have to tolerate my boyfriend boring me to death with details and facts like the Knick’s stats.
However, Super Bowl parties can be a lot like other sport parties where people eat an excessive amount of junk food and gather around a huge TV set. This form of sport viewing I actually do enjoy since it’s more exciting and easy to follow as 15 relatives collectively cheer (and boo) as attractive men, in this case in tight pants, run around.
I was actually excited about being seduced to pay close attention to what was going on. I believed it wouldn’t hurt to actually learn about the game for once. Yet, Sunday, February 6, when it actually rolled around, I was surprised. I had worked the entire weekend because neighbors and residents went crazy buying snacks and drinks in preparation. Food Plus had a shortage of chips and soda by the end of the evening.
By the time I was finally off the clock that evening, a whole half hour after the game had begun, mind you, I could barely keep my eyes open. It’s safe to say I can’t recall a single big play or touchdown except the celebration at the end when the Bronco’s won, and of course, the halftime show, which had a controversial theme this year.
With Coldplay advocating for gay rights with its colorful performance and Beyoncé’s performance addressing the Black Lives Matter movement, lets just say I thought a lot of White America would be none too pleased with the halftime show this year.
After the game, I had finally regained enough consciousness to interview a couple of the people – for the assignments, of course – who had gathered in my house to watch along with my parents. The collective responses were similar. The game was boring. Louis Montenegro, 36, an elevator mechanic from Queens, said, “It was clear by the end that the Panthers let Broncos win so that Peyton Manning could retire with that one last victory.”
That was a shared sentiment. A real cause for attention, however, was Beyoncé. Not only did she perform Formation, which many believed to be a political statement on the “Black Lives Matter” movement, but her background dancers dressed as Black Panthers, a radical black political organization in the 1960s that fought for black rights. I was shocked because many pop culture and media artists usually avoid addressing social issues like race and racism because they could lead to bigger problems for them down the line.
Controversy could threaten ticket sales, and other artists and producers who might have contrary values on the subject may not want to work with them. That Beyoncé stood up in front of America, at the coveted Super bowl, and made this loud statement and clearly stated her position amazed me.
[Editor’s Note:] Because the writer and the editor disagreed over the copyediting of this article, here is a link to the writer’s preferred version.
Chasity Fernandes can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org